September 9, 2005 in Idaho

‘Oprah’ gets Groenes – minus Shasta

Taryn Brodwater Staff writer
 
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Background and the latest updates

The Groene family is sharing its story with Oprah Winfrey.

Family spokeswoman Wendy Price said the family has agreed to avoid discussing details of the show, which they expect will air in October. But she said the show “will be very powerful.”

“Oprah’s very committed to this type of story,” said Price, adding that kidnapping survivor Shasta Groene will not appear in the episode.

A publicist from “Oprah” confirmed working on an episode with the Groenes but said an air date hasn’t been set.

The Groene family was forced into the national spotlight after convicted rapist Joseph Edward Duncan III allegedly stalked the family’s home near Wolf Lodge Bay and, according to police, bound and killed Brenda Groene, her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, and Brenda’s 13-year-old son, Slade. Duncan is accused of kidnapping the two youngest Groene children – Shasta, 8, and Dylan, 9.

More than a month later, Shasta was discovered with Duncan at the Denny’s restaurant in Coeur d’Alene. She gave authorities information leading to a campsite in Montana, where Dylan’s remains were found, according to court records. She told police that Duncan had sexually abused her and her brother.

Price said the children’s father, Steve Groene, hopes he’ll be well enough to attend the show.

On Wednesday, Price said, Groene was preparing for radiation treatments for cancer in his vocal cords, a recent diagnosis.

She said doctors have said the cancer was caught early and is “very curable.”

The family decided to go on “Oprah” because the audience is mostly female and includes many parents and grandparents, Price said.

The family believes their appearance on her show might help precipitate some changes.

Since the crime, Steve Groene has called for tougher laws for sex offenders.

“It’s important to get our message out to as many people as possible, especially in light of Duncan pleading not guilty, if that’s what you want to call shutting your mouth and not opening it,” Price said.

Though she couldn’t discuss who may appear on “Oprah,” Price said Shasta would would not be on the program.

“Steve will never put her in front of a camera,” Price said. “He’s adamant that she not appear on camera anywhere.”


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